Podcast Galactica Cliff Notes - The Hand of God

For those living on the edge without 42 minutes to spare!

Synopsis: Episode 110: The Hand of GodStarbuck plans a daring raid on a Cylon refinery to replenish the
fleet's fuel resources. President Roslin continues to experience vivid - and
prescient - hallucinations. This ability surfaced in episode 109, "Flesh and

According to Ron Moore, this episode Hand of God = Big Mac. It can be considered fast food because it has explosions, combat, strategizing and all those things that go into making a fast, action-packed edge of seat episode. At the same time, Moore wants to continue to build the characterization tying into Moore's divergence from the typical action scifi entry; all action and ignores character development.

Paying homage to Space 1999
Another tidbit that was dropped in the teaser podcast section was that the compilation of scenes from the upcoming episode goes back to the television show "Space 1999". Moore calls it "paying homage", but it was a very successful plot device that has been long overlooked since it was originally used.

Moore goes into the addition of Laura Roslin’s character, leaning to the idea that it’s more realistic and balanced to have a civilian leader and a military leader instead of just having the military led by Adama making all the decisions.

Fuel is an excellent plot device to show desperation.
There are some subtle and not so subtle references to the original "Battlestar Galactica". Tyllium came directly from the original series. Basically, according to Moore, fuel adds “an interesting bit of texture”,
and is a valuable plot device to drive an episode. If our ragtag fleet runs out of it, as evidenced by this episode, desperation and destruction are imminent. It's like the episode "Water"; some things you just can't live without. We will probably have an episode about food, as well, or some plot line that runs through another episode, because food, water and fuel are the basics of survival. Shelter is also necessary, but that aspect is adequetely addressed every week in their search for the mythical planet Earth.

The writers came up with this in response to a desire to do a combat episode, which they haven’t done that many of for budgetary restraints aside, Moore shies away from doing too many head-to-head combat episodes because he doesn't want to fall into the trap that Star Trek did with the Borg. They were really scary in the beginning - edge of seat drama - but as it is with all high-stakes gambits, every time you get into that situation again, you need to raise the stakes in order to keep it interesting. The fact that the Enterprise kept triumphing utlimately diminished the Borg's terror levels to the point of boredom. Moore wants to avoid that here.

Laura Roslin’s plotline is supposed to be sort of a holdover from the original series in that there’s a larger mythos going on around the main plot - bringing into play that Life here began out there” thing that was so
prevalent in the original show. The idea that all of this has happened before and all of this will happen again. - runs through the character development of the dying president. Moore thinks that this was the opening line of the animated version of Peter Pan, but I've never heard it. I'm also not a Peter Pan person, although Finding Neverland was incredible. But I digress.

He then talks about the big board, i.e. the table thing that they use to plot strategy. It is definately reminiscent of the World War II strategy sessions we see on old movies. Moore also says that it’s a cheaper and a clearer way to show what’s going on in a battle than doing it all with space shots of Vipers spinning by planets and that sort of presentation.

Adama & Kara Thrace
The scene with Adama and Kara (when he tells her she can’t go on the mission) is one of Moore’s favorites because of the actors, the material and the continuity.

Starbuck Backstory
Moore presents a Starbuck backstory: She used to be a pyramid (some sort of ball game) player, and she was attending the Colonial Fleet Academy on some sort of athletic scholarship, with the goal of becoming a professional pyramid player. She blew out her knee and had to do something else. She tried out flying a Viper, and discovered she’d found her calling.

This was originally supposed to be episode 9, but it was switched with Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down at the last minute. This wasn’t a huge deal except that they had to switch around all the Cylon-occupied Caprica scenes between the two episodes. As to those scenes, in case you haven’t been paying attention, SOMETHING IS UP WITH SHARON. (He says it like that, hence the caps.)

Apollo and Adama have buried the hatchet, it would appear.
Apollo and Adama have finally moved on to have more to their relationship than guilt and anger over Zak. Interestingly, Moore talks about this scene as showing that Adama doesn’t think Lee’s up to the task, although I came away with another perspective. Adama apparently gives him the lighter as a good luck charm, which is strange given all that "I know you can do this because you’re my son." speechmaking. Now, Lee Adama is anything but confident prior to this mission.

To the contrary, he seems on the verge of being overwhelmed, yet his determination to prove himself is obvious. He seems almost angry at everyone for thinking otherwise, even though he might think otherwise. This angsty and nervous soon to be hero is tenacious and a damned good pilot. Moore says that probably a lot of people have underestimated Lee over the course of his life, which seems rather different from the original Apollo and even the one who was presented in the beginning of the series.

The Two Sharons
As an aside, apparently they thought the audience might get confused about how there were two Sharons, one on Caprica and one on Galactica. When Moore said this, I was hoping he meant people coming into the middle of the series, because otherwise they must have an awfully low opinion of the audience’s intelligence...

Moore points out that they make a lot of little homages to the original show, contrary to the belief of detractors who think that they spend their time dancing up and down on the grave of the original and that they enjoy chances to put a stake through the heart of the old show (said in a rather silly voice).

In this particular case, they used a ship from the original Battlestar Galactica that was used in stock shots all the time, as one of the Colonial freighters that were hiding the second wave of Vipers.

And then he talks a little bit about the celebration at the end and how the characters all feel real, and then about how Baltar may or may not have been visited by the Cylon God. Is there a Cylon God? Who loves humans? Well, that would be interesting in light of the nearly crying Number 6 on Caprica, the pregnant Boomer and the fact that Baltar's wild guess was right on the money.

But all things will become clear in time, right?

More Podcast commentary coming up next week......

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